Upgrading the Microsoft 365 User Activity Report with a 180-day Lookback Period

A new version of the Microsoft 365 user activity report PowerShell script is available. This version extends the activity lookback period to 180 days, which is helpful when assessing if user accounts are active when people might be on parental leave or sabbaticals.

Microsoft Revamps Its Guidance for Data Lifecycle and Records Management Licensing

In a welcome move, Microsoft has revamped its guidance for Microsoft 365 compliance licensing, specifically for Data Lifecycle and Records Management. The new text is much clearer about when different licenses are needed to use a feature, which is goodness even if you disagree that a feature should need a high-end license. Now if only Microsoft could do the same for the rest of its documentation…

Microsoft Releases 42 New Sensitive Information Types

Microsoft has released 42 new sensitive information types (SITs) in preview. The new SITs cover credentials used in services such as Azure, GitHub, Amazon, and Google, and can be deployed in Purview solutions like DLP and auto-labeling policies.

$100 Billion Landmark Reached for Microsoft Cloud

Microsoft’s FY22 Q4 results didn’t reveal too much in terms of real numbers for Office 365 users, or usage of individual workloads like Teams or SharePoint Online. We do know that the Microsoft Cloud segment reached the landmark of $100 billion in annualized run rate ($91.2 billion actual). How much of that is down to Office 365? That takes some guesswork, but we’ve done our best.

Pace Heats Up as Microsoft Stresses Need for Email Client Updates

A new Software Updates page in the Microsoft 365 admin center is intended to help tenant administrators keep an eye on what Office and Windows software people are using. As you’d expect, the page offers no details about non-Microsoft clients connected to Microsoft 365. That’s OK, except when work is needed to make sure that clients can cope with the effects of a massive change, like the October retirement of basic authentication for seven email connection protocols.

How Working with Protected PDFs in Microsoft 365 is Becoming Easier

Some recent announcements will make it much easier to work with PDFs protected with sensitivity labels. Adobe is now bundling the MIP plug-in with the Acrobat installer and has plans to allow users to apply sensitivity labels within Acrobat. But the big news is the change in Office applications to generate protected PDFs when saving, exporting, or sharing protected documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.

Why Loop Components Have Some Compliance Problems

Microsoft Loop components are available now in Teams chats and will soon become available in OWA. Loop components are a new way of collaborative working that some will find very attractive. However, under the covers, some compliance issues can block organizations from allowing the use of Loop components. This post explains the issues involved in eDiscovery and export of items containing Loop components.

How to View LinkedIn Contact Information in Microsoft Teams Chats

Outlook users have been able to see LinkedIn profile information for several years. Now Teams chat has the same kind of LinkedIn connection to expose profile information of people you chat with. Because Teams is more internally-focused than email is, the integration might be less useful than it is in Outlook. Then again, you might need to find out some information about people you work with!

Office 365 Reaches 345 Million Paid Seats

Microsoft’s FY22 Q3 results disclose a ton of success for the Microsoft Cloud, with revenues now approaching an annualized run rate of $100 billion. We got a new number for Office 365 users too and learned that Microsoft has 345 million paid seats for Office 365. Good progress too for Enterprise Mobility and Security and Azure Active Directory. All in all, great results.

Why the Admin Teams App Isn’t as Good as It Seems

On the surface, the Admin-Microsoft 365 Teams app seems to offer a lot of promise. However, its functionality is disappointing and anyway, do you really want administrators performing tenant management through Teams when they’re signed into their personal accounts? Some will like the app, but I’m not a fan.

Microsoft Purview Rebrand is a Royal Pain

Microsoft marketing folks are no doubt very pleased with their latest branding success in introducing the Microsoft Purview suite. Others aren’t quite so thrilled, especially anyone who writes about technology and now has to update text to match the desires of the brand police. On the upside, there’s some good new functionality coming for different products in the suite.

Per-Team Activity Data Available via Graph API

A new Microsoft Graph query makes it easy to fetch per-team activity data for reporting. You can also fetch the data with the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK. The data goes back a maximum of 90 days and is at least two days old when you fetch it. Those facts are easy to live with. What’s not so good is that the activity data focuses exclusively on channel activity and avoids everything else which happens in Teams.

Customer Lockbox Support Arrives for Microsoft Teams

Microsoft is deploying an update to extend support for its customer lockbox feature to Teams user content, like chat or channel messages. Customer lockbox is part of the Office 365 and Microsoft 365 E5 products. It’s a useful control over the access Microsoft support personnel can get to user content, but it seems like this feature should be included in lower-cost products like Office 365 E3. Not that this will happen…

Microsoft Launches Preview of Idle Session Timeout for Web Apps

Microsoft has released the preview of an idle session timeout policy to control the automatic sign-out of Microsoft 365 web apps. Not every web app is covered, but those that are will be signed out automatically when one of the covered apps becomes inactive for a stated period in a browser session. At that point, Microsoft 365 signs out all the web apps and forces the user to sign in again. Sounds like a reasonable idea, and it replaces existing mechanisms available for OWA and SharePoint Online.

Remote Connectivity Analyzer Diagnoses Teams Connections to Exchange Hybrid

Microsoft’s Remote Connectivity Analyzer (MRCA) utility is now able to run diagnostics to check connectivity between Teams and an Exchange hybrid organization. MRCA was in the doldrums for several years because no one inside Microsoft had any interest in providing funding for its development and support. Now the utility is roaring back with a set of new tests covering different aspects of Microsoft 365. Recommended!

New Account Switcher Coming for Microsoft 365 Web Apps

In a March 4 update, Microsoft announced that Microsoft 365 web apps will get a new account switcher to allow users to run multiple signed-in sessions and switch between the accounts seamlessly. Not every Microsoft 365 web app supports the new feature, with Teams being a notable miss, but there’s enough there to make this a very useful feature.

How to Control the Display of People Insights in Microsoft 365

People insights is one of the three types of insights derived by the Microsoft Graph from signals gathered from user activity in Microsoft 365 apps. Some organizations don’t like to show people insights in the user profile card, and now you can update an organization setting to remove people insights from the card for all or just some users.

Microsoft 365 Search Experiences Upgraded to Include Teams and Outlook Messages

An update to Microsoft Search means that search results available in SharePoint Online and Office.com now include Outlook and Teams messages. Microsoft has also updated Microsoft Search in Bing to include Outlook messages. All in all, these changes make Microsoft Search the go-to location when you need to find mailbox and Teams messages.

Time to Download the February 2022 Update for Office 365 for IT Pros

The February 2022 update for Office 365 for IT Pros (2022 edition) is now available for subscribers to download. This is the 80th monthly update for the book, so you can say that we have accumulated some practice in producing monthly updates. Every month, we meet some surprises as we develop new content, amend existing text, or remove old material. It’s part of the joy of working on a book which evolves all the time, We’d appreciate if subscribers download the February update at their convenience… why use old text when an updated version is available?

Microsoft Cloud Revenues Pile Up as Teams Hits 270 Million Users

Microsoft Cloud revenues hit $22.1 billion in Microsoft’s FY22 Q2 results announced January 25. Office 365 user numbers grew 16% year over year, but there’s no detail given about active users. Teams reached 270 million users, but we don’t know what segments these users fall into. We do know that Microsoft Viva has 1,000 paying customers, which could be deemed a disappointing outcome for a much-hyped solution.

How to Determine the Age of a Microsoft 365 Tenant

Finding the age of a Microsoft 365 tenant isn’t an important administrative operation. However, understanding how to retrieve this information (if asked) is an interesting question, which is why we spent several hours playing around with PowerShell and the Microsoft Graph to figure out how to answer the question. It’s the kind of in-depth analysis we do all the time to build content for the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook.

How to Search the Microsoft 365 Audit Log for SharePoint and OneDrive Deletion Events

The Microsoft 365 audit log holds all kinds of useful data, including events logged for SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business file deletions. It’s easy to use PowerShell to search the audit log to find and interpret the events and create a report. Large tenants might need to export the audit data on a regular basis to an external repository to allow for long-term retention and analysis. We explain the principles of the process in this article.

Microsoft 365 Retention Policy Lookup Available in Purview Compliance Portal

The ability to lookup a user, site, or group and report the Microsoft 365 retention policies applicable to the location is now available in preview. The new feature helps administrators understand what retention policies might block the deletion of a mailbox, site, or group, something that’s often difficult when multiple retention policies exist in a tenant. Although welcome, it would be nice if Microsoft could extend the feature to add some actions. Maybe that will come in the next version.

Microsoft Introduces 99.99% SLA for Teams Calling

Microsoft enhanced a new 99.99% SLA for Teams Phone and Calling on December 1. The new SLA is backed with financial commitments for credit if Microsoft doesn’t meet its standards. All of this is very nice, as long as you understand how the SLA is calculated and what you need to do if problems happen to be in a position to make a claim.

What does Microsoft 365 Informed Network Routing Do?

Microsoft 365 informed network routing is now available, if you have the right Cisco SD WAN network gear in your datacenter. This is a set forward to help network controllers make better routing decisions for Microsoft 365 network traffic by providing application-specific quality of service metrics instead of using artificial probes to detect network issues. Sounds good, but will it make a difference to your Office 365 tenant? Read on…

Microsoft Extends Problematic Information Barriers Solution to All Education Tenants

Information barriers seem like a good idea. Implement policy-driven controls over who can communicate within a Microsoft 365 tenant. Microsoft is making the solution available to education tenants. In reality, they should spend some the engineering effort required to improve the current sad state of the information barriers solution. No GUI, horrible management, PowerShell with impenetrable errors, and a lack of visibility into how the solution works.

How to Find When Azure AD User Accounts Receive Microsoft 365 Licenses

A reader asked how to find when Azure AD accounts received certain licenses. As it turns out, this isn’t as simple as it seems. PowerShell can tell use when user accounts are enabled with service plans, but to get dates for licenses (products or SKUs), we need to go to the Graph API, and those dates aren’t quite there yet. In any case, it’s an interesting question which deserves some exploration to see if we can find an answer.

How to Find and Use Office 365 and Microsoft 365 Icons

The Microsoft Fasttrack portal includes a branding toolkit full of Microsoft 365 and Office 365 app icons which are very useful for internal communications. That’s an important point. While you might like to use the icons in external communications, like blog posts or presentations given at conferences, Microsoft doesn’t license their use for those purposes. But will Microsoft come after you if you slip a SharePoint or Teams logo into your next presentation. Probably not, as long as you use the icons tastefully.

Some Microsoft 365 Features Highlighted at Fall Ignite 2021 You Can Use Now

To help you recover from the blizzard of Microsoft 365 information released at Fall Ignite 2021, here are some notes about features and functionality you might have missed. Like any list created by a conference (virtual) attendee, it reflects my interests and what I was looking for. Feel free to disagree on the importance of any or all of the topics discussed here… and suggest some of your own in the comments.

Microsoft Talks Teams and Forgets About the Rest of Microsoft 365 in FY22 Q1 Results

Microsoft’s comments about their FY22 Q1 results to market analysts covered lots about Teams and not much else about Microsoft 365. Is that a problem? Well, Teams is a barometer for the health of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. If it’s doing well, then all the component parts are too. Although Microsoft didn’t give any new numbers for Office 365 or Teams users, strong growth in seats and revenue were reported. And Azure AD now has 500 million monthly active users.

How to Use a Inactive Mailbox Retention Policy to Manage Inactive Mailboxes

Most Microsoft 365 tenants will have to manage the mailboxes of ex-employees. Retention policies are an excellent method to achieve this goal, if you remember to add mailboxes to a suitable retention policy before deleting their Azure AD account. In this article, we consider Microsoft’s recommendation to use a specific retention policy for inactive mailboxes and how to go about using such a policy.

Massive Refresh of Whiteboard App Delivered for Teams and Other Clients

Microsoft has delivered a massive refresh for the Whiteboard app. Now available in Teams, browser, and Android clients (Windows native and iOS updates are coming), the update delivers many new features including reactions, importing graphics into whiteboards, and object alignment. A bunch of out-of-the-box templates can help people use Whiteboard in different scenarios, and if you’re looking for some digital smarts, there’s ink shape recognition to play with.

How to Use the Free Microsoft 365 Compliance Trial

Microsoft is making a free 90-day trial of Microsoft 365 E5 Compliance licenses available to tenants who don’t yet have compliance licenses. The purpose is to allow organizations to test the advanced compliance functionality which requires Office 365 E5 or Microsoft 365 E5 licenses. Microsoft obviously hopes that organizations will be so delighted at the functionality that they sign up for E5 licenses in the long run. If you don’t want to run a test in your production tenant, you can achieve much the same effect by getting an E5 trial tenant and testing there.

How Teams Makes Webinar Information Available for Search and eDiscovery

Teams-based webinars are a popular way of hosting events like product briefings or announcements. Behind the scenes, the Microsoft 365 substrate stores information about webinar speakers, attendance, and event details as lists in the meeting organizer’s OneDrive for Business account. The information stored in OneDrive is indexed and available for eDiscovery. It’s a great example of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem in action.

How to Manage Anonymized User Data in Microsoft 365 Usage Reports

The usage reports available in the Microsoft 365 admin center, Teams admin center, and other places now include anonymized user information by default. The new default became active on September 1, 2021 and the organization setting applies to any usage data generated by the Microsoft Graph usage reports API, which means that some scripts might create reports less interesting and useful than before. It’s a good change for privacy, but will organizations persist with the new default?

How to Find Delve Accounts with Disabled Document Insights

Microsoft has replaced the controls which disabled document insights in Delve with new Graph-based settings. However, you might still have a bunch of users with the Delve settings who need to migrate to the Graph settings. In this article, we explore how the settings work and how to query the Graph to find the set of users who disabled the setting in Delve. We can then use PowerShell to add those accounts to the group of disabled insights users for the Graph-based settings.

September 2021 Update Available for Office 365 for IT Pros

The September 2021 update is available to subscribers of the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook. The update for the only constantly updated book covers changes across Office 365 in the last month, including new functionality and features, a new SLA figure for the service, and a bunch of updated PowerShell examples. And we fixed some annoying typos. All in all, it was a busy but productive month. Please update and use the new text at your earliest convenience. We wouldn’t like you to use now obsolete information.

Microsoft 365’s New Retention Assistant Processes Multiple Workloads

Microsoft has moved retention processing for SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, Teams, and Yammer from the Managed Folder Assistant to a new retention assistant. (background processing job). It’s part of an effort to use workload-agnostic processing whenever possible to perform retention actions across Microsoft 365.

How to Remove a Single Service Plan from Multiple Microsoft 365 Accounts with PowerShell

In this post, we describe how to use PowerShell to remove a single service plan from Microsoft 365 licenses using PowerShell. The script can remove any service plan from any SKU (license) in a tenant. You might want to do this to disable access to an obsolete feature (like Sway) or to prevent access to a new feature until the organization is ready to support user activity.